‘Learn Here, Live Here' Bill Advances in Connecticut

Weeks after college commencement ceremonies, this is a time when many young adults are polishing their resumes and asking themselves, “OK, I have my diploma, now what?” The search for jobs may lead them to careers within the states where they attended college, but in many cases recent graduates will join the exodus to find work someplace else.

In an effort to encourage in-state graduates of Connecticut colleges to put down roots and stay at home, the Connecticut legislature this month adopted HB 6525. One provision of the bill is dubbed “Learn Here, Live Here.” It allows Connecticut residents who graduate from in-state colleges to set aside up to $2,500 annually from their state income tax liability for up to 10 years and deposit the funds into a first-time homebuyer’s account. That money can be withdrawn to use as a down payment on a house. After purchasing their homes, the graduates would have to live in Connecticut for at least five years or would be required to repay a percentage of the funds.

The program is intended to be part of a broader plan to make Connecticut an attractive place to live and work.

Connecticut is losing more people between the ages of 18 and 34 than “almost any other state,”  according to Rep. Gail Lavielle. She says “This means that we are spending time, money, and effort on educating a workforce for other states, and Connecticut students who have made the effort to pursue and finish a degree are not being provided with a welcoming enough environment in their home state for embarking on their careers.  This program can help to change that.”

HB 6525 passed both House and Senate without a dissenting vote. The bill now awaits action by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

To view HB 6525, see http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/FC/2011HB-06525-R000891-FC.htm